Build Jacked Hamstrings With This Workout
Want to know what ripped hamstrings look like? Imagine a few steel chains running under the paper thin skin at the back of your legs. These chains are what are used to lower and raise your torso when you bend forward to touch your toes or in exercises like the deadlifts.
Hamstrings can be a stubborn muscle group to develop. It’s hard to establish a mind-muscle connection with the hamstrings as they’re at the back of your legs and you can’t look at them in the mirror while training.
Lying Leg Curls – 4 Sets 15 Reps
You’ll be performing a combination of isolation and compound exercises in this workout to smoke your hams. The compound lifts help in building strength and size of the muscle and the isolation movements improve the conditioning.
You’ll start off with the lying leg curls (an isolation exercise) to activate and engage your hams. The concentric (upward) movement should be explosive, and the eccentric should be slow and controlled.
Sumo Squats – 3 Sets 12-10-8 Reps
The sumo squats target the hamstring and abductors primarily. Stand with your feet placed more than shoulder-width apart and point your toes outwards. You should go as deep as possible without leaning forward to target your hamstrings optimally.
If you have trouble performing the barbell sumo squats, you can use a dumbbell. Stand on an elevated platform (like aerobic steps) and take the same stance as you would during the barbell squats.
Hold a dumbbell with both your hands while your arms are fully extended towards and perpendicular to the floor. Your arms will remain in the same position throughout the exercise.
Dumbbell Deadlifts – 3 Sets 12-10-8 Reps
Remember the steel chain reference at the beginning of the article? You need to bring it in practice in the dumbbell deadlifts. Place your toes on quarter plates to better isolate and recruit your hamstrings.
Maintain a slight bend in your knees and lower your torso by bending at your hips while pushing them back and focusing on your hamstrings. Keep your back arched and go as low as you can without recruiting your lower back.
Standing Hamstrings Curls – 3 Sets 20-15-12 Reps
Standing hamstrings curls are an isometric exercise which helps in building conditioning and fixing any muscle imbalances. If you don’t have access to a standing hamstring curl machine, you can use a leg extension machine.
GHD Hyperextensions – 3 Sets 10 Reps
Superset the standing hamstrings curls with the GHD hyperextensions. The GHD hyperextensions were brought into the mainstream by CrossFit athletes and are an incredibly effective exercise to annihilate your hamstrings.
Barbell Hip Thrusts – 3 Sets 12-10-8 Reps
Barbell hip thrusts are one of the most underutilized exercises when it comes to hamstring training. Although the hip thrusts can help you in building meaty hams, you should avoid them if you have an impending lower back injury.
Place your upper back on a flat bench while you have a barbell placed across your groin. Use padding around the barbell to avoid it from digging in when you thrust. Hold and contract your hams at the top of the movement for a couple of seconds before returning to the starting position.
Header image courtesy of Envato Elements
Do you train your hamstrings and quads on the same day?